0:00:03 – Speaker 1
Hey, this is Mandy and Kim with nextTalk, where we are passionate about keeping kids safe in the digital world.
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0:00:37 – Speaker 1
So recently I was talking with my teen daughter she’s 16, about a trend on TikTok. She literally said to me trends are made on TikTok. And I was like really what. That’s the first for me. I tried not to do the eye roll, right? Yes, yes, but that’s what that’s what I felt.
0:00:54 – Speaker 2
Tell me more, tell me more.
0:00:57 – Speaker 1
Yeah, so this trend was aesthetics. So she was like what is your aesthetic? And let’s create an aesthetic board. And I’m like, okay, tell me what this means, Sure new topic.
So it’s basically like the kind of style you like, like a trend, and two of the really popular ones right now are Cottagecore and Dark Academia, so you can go Google those on your own if you want. I looked them up. I think why it’s so different from when we grew up, Kim is yes, it’s fashion, for sure it’s fashion, but it’s also like, if you like these things, which I would say the majority of kids do because they’re trending on TikTok and other social media.
They’re seeing it every day and they’re loving these trends which we all, we always got caught up in. Trends, of course, yeah Right.
0:01:43 – Speaker 2
I had MC Hammerpants. Well hey, I was legit, too legit to quit, so you know.
0:01:51 – Speaker 1
I literally think we need a photo shoot or something We’ve got to get you something they were hot pink too, the big old black belt, hot pink, yes.
0:02:01 – Speaker 2
So trends have always been the thing and like it’s easy to be influenced and caught up in that in this culture that I grew up in in the community, that was a really huge thing. I mean, you knew who was goth, you knew the preppy girls, you knew the metalheads and you kind of knew what they lean towards socially. That was just always there.
0:02:20 – Speaker 1
Okay, so think about it. Though, like MC Hammerpants, and even even all those different kids would wear those because they were cool at the time. You know majority of the kids would wear them. They may be black, not hot pink or whatever. The guys that were in the black, they’ve always been special. Okay, so think about a trend that kind of goes with the majority, most people are doing it, but then that trend says you’re going to vote this way or you’re going to be this kind of sexuality. You know this is going to define you. I just feel like with social media it’s amped it up to box kids in more. Does that make sense?
0:02:58 – Speaker 2
Yes, it sounds like they’re using trends to influence kids in a certain direction and box them into identifying as something more than just. This is my style.
0:03:08 – Speaker 1
Exactly, and I’ve been talking to a lot of moms whose kids are on TikTok because I am thinking these are red flags for me. Why are we boxing our kids and labeling them so much? It’s just it alarms me, sure. And so I’ve been polling moms and I was kind of taken back by what one mom told me. She had a 15 year old daughter and I was describing these aesthetics to her and I was like, do you think it just goes way beyond like trends that we had in high school? Like what is going on? And this is what she said to me and I share this with permission. She told me I could share it anonymously, but this is what she said. She said, actually, I have noticed so many changes in my daughter since I gave her TikTok that I was like asking my own child about it. And her 15 year old daughter said this oh yeah, I’m a completely different person. Since you let me have TikTok six months ago. It’s opened me up to a whole new world and changed my mind about a lot of things.
0:04:10 – Speaker 2
Wow, that would kind of blow my mind if my daughter said that to me.
0:04:16 – Speaker 1
So we can all relate to that on some level. I feel like as parents in a digital world, we can all relate to that on some level, and what I mean by that is we give our kids a social media platform, or they watch all a new Netflix series or they start watching YouTube and we see behavioral changes in who they are or how they behave.
0:04:39 – Speaker 2
That’s absolutely true.
We’ve seen that in our own home with, like you said, watching a Netflix series or YouTube, and we’ll preview it and think, okay, this is okay, it’s funny, it’s a little sarcastic, you know, whatever it might be, but oftentimes I feel like shows will kind of pull you in that first episode and then they amp it up as it goes along.
And I noticed last year with my kids, one of the shows that they were watching there was just this sass flying around like nobody’s business in the house and we were like what is happening? And I sat down and watched an episode of this show that they were really into and I was like, oh my word, they are modeling exactly what they’re seeing, which is nothing new with kids. But it made me realize what a big influence media has on my child, even though they’re not on social media, and so that makes me think. Here we’re talking about these trends and you know, when we were kids, it was that small circle that you sat with at lunch or you know whoever was on your campus, but now it’s the global world influencing them and boxing them in, and that’s something we’ve really got to take notice of. I think you’re right to have red flags going up.
0:05:45 – Speaker 1
Well, and I love that you are mentioning look, my kids aren’t even on social media and I’m still seeing them being influenced. And what a great opportunity parents of young kids have to really dig in and create some foundational conversations right now, before they get on social media, so they’re prepared. You know, you get to test the waters with these shows or the YouTube videos before you enter the worldwide web.
0:06:12 – Speaker 2
I haven’t heard that term in a long time.
0:06:17 – Speaker 1
I was telling my kids the other day I said I’ll never forget my college professor walking in the room and she was like we are going to learn about the worldwide web.
0:06:29 – Speaker 2
We’re dating ourselves.
0:06:30 – Speaker 1
I just thought I was so old. It was hysterical. They’re like mom nobody calls it the world yeah don’t ever say that again.
0:06:36 – Speaker 2
That’s what my kids say, but the fact that they connected the wwwwhatever to that phrase.
0:06:43 – Speaker 1
They had never heard it. That was kind of funny. Okay, Anyway, we got one. We need to move on. So we all can agree Our kids are being influenced. They are, whether social media shows kids on the playground, because of what those kids are watching. Our kids are all being influenced, and what comes to mind is a Bible verse. For me it’s Ephesians 4, 14. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. That’s so good. There’s that word again influenced. So our kids are being influenced. What do we do about it?
0:07:26 – Speaker 2
Yeah, I mean, we’re seeing them literally being tossed about by the wind, like the Bible verse says. How are we going to teach them to live in this world without being so influenced, or influenced by the wrong things?
0:07:36 – Speaker 1
Yeah, there are a lot of people and me used to say, well, I’m just going to bubble wrap them from the world. You know, I’m going to protect them, I’m not giving them social media until they’re 30. They’re not getting a phone. That was me. That was all. That was my solution to the digital world, right? And then my kid was exposed to pornography in the fourth grade, with no screens present, but a detailed picture was painted for her. This concept of bubble wrapping and protecting and delaying everything and not walking them through social media All of that was really not keeping them safe. They were still being exposed and I wasn’t preparing them for the real world. I mean, what happens when they move out of our home? They’re going to be drowning, if I’ve never let them have social media before. And so that was my wake up moment, that I had to just dig in here, like I had to become the source of information. I had to be willing to talk about all the hard things.
0:08:33 – Speaker 2
I always want to bubble wrap my kids. I mean that’s, I think, a lot of us that’s our first go to because we want to keep them safe. And as we’ve been working through these issues over the years, I’ve realized we have to unwrap the bubble wrap and become the safe place for our kids to fall and hear us when we say we’re not saying give your five year old a phone?
0:08:52 – Speaker 1
That’s not what we’re saying. Each child is ready when they are ready and they should be much older. You’ve got to be willing to do the work. Your kids have had to demonstrate that they’re trustworthy on devices and screens and definitely don’t give your kids a phone out of peer pressure.
0:09:09 – Speaker 2
I hear that a lot from young moms. They’re like my kid says everyone has it. Don’t make the decision because of pressure.
0:09:16 – Speaker 1
And I will tell you social media I don’t recommend it until they’re 12 or 13. And even then, it’s one platform at a time and they earn it. They don’t just get a social media platform. They do something really awesome. They tell you about a friend cussing at school or they tell you about an inappropriate show. They watch something like that, where you’re like I can trust you. Now let’s walk through this together. You know the platform, you follow them, you have their password, you’re logged into their account. You know it’s a step by step process. So we’re not saying just give your kid a phone and take your hands off the wheel. That’s not at all what we’re saying. But we are saying we do have to prepare them for the world they’re living in.
0:09:55 – Speaker 2
So our kids are being influenced from all these different outside sources. What do we do? What are some things that we can practically set up in our home to help our kids?
0:10:04 – Speaker 1
I’ve really been learning a lot in this space lately. You know, with two kids on social media, I’ve been learning a lot. Okay, so I’m going to walk you through some of the conversations that we’ve had in our home. One is I say to my kids all the time the only label you should give yourself is child of God.
0:10:23 – Speaker 2
I just love that so much because it covers so much. You know whether they’re being influenced negatively, positively. They’re questioning different things If they know who they belong to and where their identity comes from, that’s that grounding they can always go back to. By the word of God, they can define who they are when the world is screaming at them constantly.
0:10:45 – Speaker 1
Absolutely. I mean, that’s the foundation and that’s where all your decisions should come. And so when the world starts throwing labels at them like pick your pronouns. What’s your sexuality? Are you cottage core? Are you dark academia? What’s your political views? All of that stuff I may like cottage core, or I may not like the political belief that goes with it, or I may like this or that. Having the Bible as the foundation then takes them back to that’s their identity, that’s who they are, not a trend on TikTok.
0:11:15 – Speaker 2
Exactly. You can like this, you can like that, but know who you are, and that is a child of God.
0:11:21 – Speaker 1
And you know I always tell my kids it’s it’s fine to have a trend. It just shouldn’t define you. It shouldn’t define the core values of who you are.
0:11:29 – Speaker 2
I have realized that my style is whatever is on the tables at Costco and Sam’s Club next to the discount me Like that is my style.
0:11:37 – Speaker 1
One thing I love about our friendship, Kim, is that you can be at Sam’s Club and you can be like black shirts on the table here.
0:11:44 – Speaker 2
Go get you one. We have so many of the same Sam’s Club shirt. It’s scary.
0:11:50 – Speaker 1
You remember when we showed up in the in the conference in Philadelphia, we had the same exact jacket on.
0:11:55 – Speaker 2
Yeah, we were like oh, embarrassing, embarrassing.
0:12:00 – Speaker 1
So you know, whatever your kids trend is, it’s fine that they have little styles and they’re finding themselves, but make sure those core values, their identity, their foundation, is found in Jesus.
0:12:12 – Speaker 2
Okay, number two, and this is good, but it might throw you off. At first, teach your kids to be a free thinker. What does that mean, mandy majors?
0:12:21 – Speaker 1
Okay, so this is what we call it. You can call it whatever you want. Think of it like being an independent thinker, thinking on your own, just evaluating both perspectives. First of all, you just need to teach your kids how to fact check. Not everything they see on social media, youtube, hear from friends, is going to be true. It’s just not. So check several sources With my oldest. I even say to her, because she knows more politics, and so I’ll say check sources with differing opinions. If it’s a historical thing, do your research, like what does history tell us? And look at different sources there too. So that’s the first thing Just fact check what you’re seeing. Don’t take everything as truth.
0:13:02 – Speaker 2
I love this point because you can start it when your kids are young. They are always hearing things from their friends that are ridiculous. We know it’s ridiculous, but they believe it, they take it at face value, and so this is a great opportunity when your kids are telling a story or you overhear them sharing something with their sibling or friend, to talk them through that later pull them aside and say, hey, you know, where’d you hear that, what do you think about it? And let’s talk about why that may or may not be true and teach them to not just hear something and believe it, but to think through it and, as my mom always used to say which I loved listen to both sides and then filter it down through scripture. That’s always where we need to go back to to figure out the truth.
0:13:46 – Speaker 1
Absolutely. You know, sometimes when you’re looking at both sides, you see different terminology, and so you have to dig into that. Let me give you an example of that. One of the things that we see a lot is I am for women’s healthcare. Of course, everybody’s for women’s healthcare, right, like I’m for women’s healthcare Sounds great, but some people not all people who say that, but some people mean abortion when they say that.
So you need to dig into that. And then the question is why would people oppose abortion and why would people fight then against women’s healthcare? You know that terminology Because it sounds like people are fighting against something that’s so good, right, but why are they fighting against that? Dig into that and teach your kid to dig into that. There’s got to be a reason. Where are they coming from? And then you get to see more of the both sides, and then you put it through the lens of scripture, just like your mom taught you, and you know we’re talking about abortion here, and I do want to say this is your family, your choice on how you handle this, but it’s just an example of how people sometimes use different terminology to describe it.
0:14:56 – Speaker 2
That’s such a great example, Mandy, and it brings to mind something we have discussed on previous shows. The concept of love is love which just sounds lovely when you hear it, and it’s hard to think of that as being a negative thing. But that can mean different things to different people. Some of those meanings can be harmful, and so, Mandy, you talk about this in your book. You can go dig into that and see some examples of it and listen to our previous shows. But that’s another example of how digging in and finding out what both sides mean by terms helps you to filter it down through truth and then go to scripture and find out what you believe.
0:15:32 – Speaker 1
Yeah, I mean. What if your 12 year old comes to you and says I want to run away with a 65 year old man I met on Instagram? Because love is love. Exactly, you need to be careful here.
0:15:42 – Speaker 2
Okay, so number three we’re all influenced by something. Make sure your kids know how to pick the right influences.
0:15:49 – Speaker 1
I mean, we’re all influences. If you really think about it, we’re influencing our kids lives. Pastors are sex predators, are everybody’s influencing, everybody, right. And so how do we help our kids have the positive influencers in their lives? One of the things I like to do I follow pastors and people on social media that are really grounded biblically and I will follow them for months and months and months and if they’re legit like I’ll be like hey, kids, follow these people, you know, fill their feed with a really good stuff. Now, on the flip side of that, you also have to say to your kids just because this person is a pastor and is posting really good biblical stuff, they’re still a person and they could fall. That’s why people are not idols for us. But we do have to recognize what influencers are we picking to speak into our heart.
0:16:42 – Speaker 2
I love the concept of the feed all day with positive messages from great influencers, but I think beyond that, we are being influenced all day long by marketers, advertisers, companies, and it’s important to teach your kid to think about the motivation behind these influencers. What is it that they’re wanting from you? Are they trying to sell you a product? Are they trying to get you on board to create more likes, which creates more money for them? There’s all kinds of motivations out there that are vying for our attention and we have to talk our kids through understanding how they’re being influenced and why they’re being influenced. We’ve had these conversations with our kiddos and it really helps them to examine what they’re taking in and how it’s affecting them.
0:17:26 – Speaker 1
Well, and if you have older kids I’m so glad you brought this up, kim If you have older kids, watch the Social Dilemma on Netflix. If they have social media, they can watch that, and it really talks about us being the product, like we are the product because of so much marketing that goes on behind the scenes to get our brain to look at certain things. I think this is a very valid point. Aside from social media, though, just how can your kid be influenced in real life? You know, help them find the right friends, and that’s going to be a constant struggle. Pray continually that your kids can find their people, and it may just be one. Pray for the person you know sometimes. And a youth group listen, this is important. Ask your youth pastor the hard questions Like how do you feel about this? Are you going to address this? My kids’ youth group talk about really tough things, and I love that. It’s one of my favorite things. They’re not afraid to go there.
0:18:21 – Speaker 2
I think it makes the point that, as you’re helping your kids navigate, finding friends and finding the right youth group, that we always want to filter it through. Is this person, or is this group, or is this experience bringing them closer to God? Or, further away, when they’re in the right youth group, hopefully it’s bringing them closer to God and that’s the kind of influence we’re after.
0:18:43 – Speaker 1
That’s a great question for your kid to ask themselves about their youth group, their friends, their boyfriend, girlfriend and even the people they follow on social media. It’s a great question to keep in your kid’s head.
0:18:52 – Speaker 2
These are all great points. So, just as a reminder, the only label you should give yourself is child of God. Teach your kids to be a free thinker, and we are all influenced by something. Make sure your kids know how to pick the right influencers.
Transcribed by https://podium.page